RFA in the News (January 2015)

USA Today

Jan. 28 “Ted C. Fishman: Being like 'Charlie' requires stiff spine

In practice, the world is often muzzled by threats from censorious bullies. Some are militant groups, such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, that kill reporters. Others are governments, such as those of China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia. … China recently arrested three brothers of Shohret Hoshur, a Washington-based Uigur journalist who left the country in 1994. Hoshur has reported on government torturers and police brutality in the western province of Xinjiang, where his family lives


Jan. 27 “Herders Protest Land Grabs in Inner Mongolia

In recent weeks, ethnic Mongolian herders have staged protests in various cities in Inner Mongolia against the government takeover of traditional grazing lands. … After giving an interview to Radio Free Asia, Hada had his ID card confiscated..


Jan. 27 “China: Pastor's rights abuses lawsuit rejected in church demolition case

A Christian pastor in China remains imprisoned after claims that he has suffered rights abuses were rejected today. … "I was here to do some reporting and interviews on the demolition of crosses...They didn't hold me for very long. They just stopped me from interviewing people," Yannan told Radio Free Asia.


Jan. 26 “Greg Fay -- Silencing Uyghurs: A Family Affair

In 2014, the Committee to Protect Journalists singled out China as the world's worst jailer of journalists. Uyghurs, a Turkic people indigenous to China's northwest, make up a shocking proportion of those in jail. … Authorities have harassed the family of Shohret Hoshur, who works for Radio Free Asia, since 2009 in order to silence Hoshur's critical reporting on Uyghurs from overseas.


Jan. 23 “U.N. to provide N. Korea with US$2 mln aid

The United Nations will provide US$2 million in aid to North Korea as part of its humanitarian efforts, a news report said Saturday. … The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, part of the U.N. Secretariat responsible for humanitarian actions, plans to deliver the financial support to its peer organizations working in the reclusive regime, according to a new report by Radio Free Asia (RFA).


Jan. 22 “Upper House Speaker Canvasses MPs for Reform Suggestions

Burma’s Upper House Speaker has set a Friday deadline for Upper House MPs to provide input into mooted six-party constitutional reform discussions. … In the days that followed, however, Minister of Information Ye Htut told Radio Free Asia that a six-party meeting would be “impractical”, and the army chief reportedly told members of the Karen National Union that he would not accept six-party talks because he wanted the inclusion of more stakeholders.


Jan. 22 “Japan’s faltering support for Burma’s democracy”

After many years of engagement with Burma’s military regime, Japan began to play a significant role in supporting the country’s shift toward political reform in 2011–2012. … The government has committed itself to reaching ceasefire agreements with Burma’s various ethnic minority groups and has reportedly agreed to establish a federal system in Burma—although many analysts doubt its sincerity on these questions. [Citation: Radio Free Asia]


Jan. 21 “OPINION: His Brother’s Keeper, Beijing Style

Beijing’s censors are nothing if not persistent. Unable to silence a Washington-based reporter directly, Chinese authorities have opted for another approach: Imprison his relatives. Shohret Hoshur left China in 1994 after authorities harassed him for reporting in local newspapers about the ethnic and religious discrimination faced by his fellow Uighurs in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. With his family still in Xinjiang, Mr. Hoshur eventually began working for Radio Free Asia, the news service funded by the U.S. government.


Jan. 21 “North Korea-Russia Trade Takes Another Step

Russia’s Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East announced on January 14 that Russian businesses doing trade with North Korea can make payment in rubles through North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank. … Bruce Klingner of The Heritage Foundation told Radio Free Asia that the announcement was Pyongyang’s effort to deflect attention on sanctions that aim to curtail North Korea’s illegal acts.


Jan. 21 “N.Korean News Agency 'Spreading Malware'

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency has spread malware on the Internet, Radio Free Asia in the U.S. claimed on Tuesday.


Jan. 20 “Activists spread anti-N. Korea leaflets over border

A group of local and foreign activists has sent balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the inter-Korean border, but DVDs of the controversial film "The Interview" have been excluded, the group's head said Tuesday. … "I have previously vowed to accept if a person in charge of government administration requests restraint in the form of an official letter, but no such request has been made," Park said in an interview with Washington-based Radio Free Asia.


Jan. 20 “Political prisoner Dr Tun Aung released

A Muslim doctor from Rakhine State wrongly imprisoned for inciting violence in 2012 has been released following the intervention of a US lawmaker. … In a brief interview following his release on January 19, Dr Tun Aung told Radio Free Asia that US Congressman Mr Aaron Schock had helped secure his release.


Jan. 19 “Monks and nuns in Serthar denied passport

Chinese authorities have stopped issuing passport to monks and nuns in Serthar County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture to travel outside Tibet and China. According to US based Radio Free Asia, though no reason has been given for the restriction, it is believed that it may be linked with the role played by local monasteries in anti-China protests in 2008. Special conditions are being applied for monks and nuns who wish to procure the travel document.


Jan. 14 “Dan Southerland: 'Voices from Tibet' captures China’s subjugation of the roof of the world

For Tibetans, the year 2014 meant arrests of anyone openly voicing dissent against China’s rule, the further displacement of Tibetan nomads, and intensified police controls over monasteries. … Many of these articles first appeared as pieces prepared for broadcast to Tibet by Radio Free Asia (RFA), for which Woeser and Wang are regular contributors and where I work as the chief editor.


Jan. 13 “It's always more than a game for North Korea

"It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key."

Those were the words of British war-time leader Winston Churchill in October 1939, just after the outbreak of the Second World War when he was addressing the nation in a BBC Radio broadcast and speaking of Russia and the part it had to play in hostilities. … London's Daily Telegraph, quoting Radio Free Asia and the South Korean media, reported the players were lambasted for failing in the "ideological struggle" to succeed in South Africa.


Jan. 12 “China Unicom Could Monitor Any of Its Cellphones, Researcher Found

China Unicom one of China’s largest state-run telecommunications firms has systems in place to listen in on phone calls and track the locations of its users. … In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Ye Du, a Chinese independent writer, claimed that users in China are aware the Chinese regime is trying to monitor the popular social networking websites Weibo and Weixin, in particular.


Jan. 12 “China has just banned the burqa in its biggest Muslim city

Chinese authorities have banned women in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang—an autonomous western region where Muslims account for almost half of the population—from wearing burqas in public, according to a brief article on a government-run website, Tianshan News. … Zhang Haitao, an activist based in Urumqi, told Radio Free Asia, “You can’t deprive the freedom of a small portion of people to maintain the stability of the society. But here, for a long time, the authorities have been kidnapping public opinion in the name of stability.”


Jan. 12 “Fred Hiatt: The cracks in China’s crackdown

… The report, to be published Tuesday, is written by Sarah Cook, the author of a groundbreaking study last year on Chinese efforts to censor and control how overseas media report about China. A shocking reminder of those efforts came last week with the story of China arresting three brothers of a Washington-based reporter for Radio Free Asia.


Jan. 9 “South Korean Government Won't Stop Balloon-Drop of 'The Interview' in North Korea

A Seoul-based human rights group can move forward with a plan to send copies of the controversial U.S. comedy The Interview to North Korea via hydrogen balloons, as the South Korean government said it did not intend to halt the project. … A recent report from the Washington D.C.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) revealed that Pyongyang has already beefed up surveillance near the border with China in order to stop people from smuggling copies of The Interview into North Korea.


Jan. 9 “China uses long-range intimidation of U.S. reporter to suppress Xinjiang coverage

The Chinese government has imprisoned the three brothers of a Washington-based reporter for Radio Free Asia, apparently intensifying its suppression of free speech and coverage of the troubled province of Xinjiang. Ethnic Uighur journalist Shohret Hoshur left China in 1994, after he ran into trouble with the authorities for his reporting. He has since become a U.S. citizen and a mainstay of Radio Free Asia’s coverage of Xinjiang, offering one of the only independent sources of information about events in the province.


Jan. 8 “EDITORIAL: Silent Night in Laos

Christmas festivities, religious and secular, are enjoyed across East Asia. But not in Laos. This year the communist government used the holiday season to pursue a violent crackdown on Christians of the Hmong ethnic minority. In November Radio Free Asia reported village leaders kicking out families who refused to renounce Christianity. Recent Hmong converts were jailed until they reverted to traditional animist practices.


Jan. 5 “Kim Jong Un`s sister reportedly marries son of close aide

North Korean leader’s younger sister is seen wearing a gold ring. North Korea’s state-run medium Rodong Sinmun on Friday published a photograph of Kim Yo Jong, who was accompanying Kim Jong Un on his visit to childcare facilities and an orphanage in Pyongyang. … The U.S. medium Radio Free Asia quoted a businessman, an ethnic Korean in China who visited Pyongyang in October 2014, as saying that “Kim Yo Jong was already married and her husband appeared to be working in the `Room 39,` which manages finances for the Kim family.”


Jan. 5 “Four Tibetans severely beaten by police for refusing to sell their land

Four Tibetans have been injured after Chinese authorities beat them up for refusing to sell their land in Zamthang County in Ngaba Tibet Autonomous Prefecture on Wednesday, December 31. … According to Radio Free Asia, Chinese authorities ordered the Tibetans, mostly poor farmers, to sell off their land for government projects or business development projects. The Tibetans were threatened of dire consequences including confiscation of land.

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